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Training a Pitbull Puppy to Come

Why teach a dog to ?drop it?? If you have a young puppy, you know the answer to this ? it?s because they frequently have something valuable or dangerous in their mouths! The goal is that when you cue ?drop it?, your dog will open her mouth and allow you to retrieve the item.

It is very important to make sure your dog is making a good bargain with you for her prize (you give her a good treat) and that you stay calm and don?t chase her. If this is taught correctly, your dog will be happy to hear you say ?drop it?. If your dog isn?t happy to hear ?drop it? for all items yet, then it is best to keep those items out of reach until you have practiced with them. This exercise is also important because it can prevent food guarding. If your dog knows that you do not ?steal?, she will not worry about you approaching favorite items.

1) Get together a few items your dog might like to chew on, your clicker and some good treats like cheese or turkey.

2) Have a piece of food ready in your other hand as you encourage your dog to chew on one of the objects. Once she has her mouth on it, put a piece of food close to her nose and say ?drop it?. Click when she opens her mouth and feed her the treat as you pick up the item with your other hand. Return the item to her.

3) Try to get her to pick up the object again so you can continue practicing, but beware that once your dog knows there are treats involved she may want to keep her mouth free for eating! In this case, keep your treats handy throughout the day and whenever you see her randomly pick up an object or toy you can practice. Aim for at least 10 repetitions per day. Occasionally you will not be able to give her the object back (if she?s found a forbidden object), but that?s okay. Just be sure to give her an extra nice treat.

4) Repeat the process in #2 exactly, but this time you will be sneaky and won?t actually have the treat in the hand that you put close to her nose (?empty fingers?). She will most likely drop the object anyway and you can click and get the treat out of your pouch. Give her the equivalent of 3 treats the first time you use empty fingers and she drops the item. After a few days of practicing, try it with a tasty item. Get a carrot or hard chew. Hold it in your hand and offer the other side of the item to your dog to chew on, but don?t let go! Let her put her mouth on it and then cue ?drop it?. Give her the equivalent of 3 treats the first time she does this and offer her the object again. If your dog won?t retake the item, just put it away and practice another time. Get 10 reps of this before going on to step 6.

5) Get your hard chew again and some really fresh yummy treats (meat or cheese). This time you will offer the object to your dog and let go and then right away cue ?drop it?. When she does give her the equivalent of 10 of your extra yummy treats and then give her the item to keep (this should make a very good impression!). If she doesn?t release the item, try showing her your treat first and if that doesn?t work, just let her have it and try again later with a lower value food-related item. You will be able to build up to the highest value items once your dog realizes it is worth her while to listen.

6) Practice the ?drop it? with real-life objects around that she enjoys but are not allowed such as: tissues, pens (begin with an empty one), wrappers, shoes. Then practice this outside! Before you know it, you will see your pitbull come on command.

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